United Nations: Somali pirates are
becoming more brazen and keeping ahead of the international
naval force seeking to end their high seas marauding, a top UN
official said on Tuesday.
The pirates have kidnapped almost 100 new crew and
passengers from ships in less than a month and there are now
at least 438 seafarers and 20 ships held by bandits, according
to latest International Maritime Organisation figures.
The sea gangs may now be making hundreds of millions
of dollars a year from ransoms, Lynn Pascoe, UN secretary
general for political affairs, told the UN Security Council.
"Piracy is a menace that is outpacing efforts by the
international community to stem it," he said, highlighting the
latest "appalling" hijack figures.
"The pirates are also taking greater risks and seeking
higher ransoms," he added.
Pascoe said a Spanish warship escorting a food supply
vessel was "brazenly" attacked on Saturday. The pirates used a
freighter they had seized only a month earlier.
The pirates also announced Saturday that they had
received a record nine-million-dollar ransom for a South
At the same, Pascoe added, the international navy
forces off the Somalia coast "have disrupted more pirate
operations and protected more vessels than ever before."
The UN official said international forces had to deter
the pirates, secure the shipping lanes and step up development
in conflict-stricken Somalia.
"As long as piracy is so lucrative, with ransom
payments adding up to tens of millions if not hundreds of
millions of dollars, and other economic incentives so bleak,
the incentives are obvious," he said.
Dozens of warships from navies around the world now
patrol shipping lanes off Somalia`s coast and into the Gulf of
Aden. But a UN report released last week said that there have
been more successful hijackings in the first 10 month of the
year, compared to 2009.